The Best Horror Movies of the 90s

To be blunt, the horror movie has turned into a gigantic pile of crap. The new millennium has not been kind to this favorite genre. Pastiche and cliche have overtaken it, replacing innovation or even simple craftsmanship.

For every mildly effective Final Destination (2000), we are inundated with sci-fi debacles (Pitch Black [2000], Ghosts Of Mars [2001]), big-budget bland – or heartless – ness (What Lies Beneath [2000], The Cell [2000], Hannibal [2001]), or parodies of parodies (Scary Movie 1 and 2 [2000 and 2001, respectively]).

Horror movies have been left raped and freezing on the side of the road. Some of the fault lies with the audience: you people watch crap. But even horror’s crap has a tendency to be enjoyable. Just look at Kevin J. O’Connor’s scene-stealing performance and the excellent monster designs in Stephen Sommers’ Deep Rising (1998). There’s gold to be mined in these fecal hills – not so the more recent films.

And sometimes when you look at the recent horror/thriller fare, it feels like it has always been this way – that the good times are so far in the past that NOBODY has made a good horror movie since Murnau. Jack and I don’t think this is true, and we want to prove it. Hollywood can make a decent horror film (sometimes a damned fine one), and we want them to do it again. To wit, we thought we would use our considerable influence (being, as we are, media gods beyond measure) and look back just ten years, at the best horror movies of the 90s.

We will examine approximately twenty films in short essays, trying to determine why each movie succeeds, and why it deserves appreciation in the genre, and in film in general. A few of our choices may not be traditional horror (and I think we fudged the year on at least one), but all of them have in some way expanded on the genre, either by commenting on its parameters or by surreptitiously borrowing them for their own purposes. And hell, some of them are just plain scary.

  • Barton Fink – Jack Cormack
  • Candyman – Kent Conrad
  • The Crow – Jack Cormack
  • Jacob’s Ladder – Kent Conrad
  • Lord Of Illusions – Kent Conrad
  • Perfect Blue – Kent Conrad
  • The Ring/Ringu – Kent Conrad
  • Scream – Jack Cormack
  • The Silence Of The Lambs – Jack Cormack
  • Spoorloos – Kent Conrad
  • Dead Alive – Kent Conrad
  • In The Mouth Of Madness – Kent Conrad
  • Kalifornia – Kent Conrad
  • Se7en – Kent Conrad
  • The Sixth Sense – Kent Conrad
  • The Blair Witch Project – Jack Cormack
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Jack Cormack
  • Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer – Jack Cormack
  • Popcorn – Jack Cormack
  • Rampage – Jack Cormack

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